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Thursday, August 24, 2000

The good news is that the move is almost here, and I'll be able to stop obsessing about it. The bad news is that it's almost here! Am I ready for that? Hardly.

As I was coming in from the grocery store tonight, I saw Landlord Fred in the driveway and pounced on him. I've been meaning to pin him down about a few things, but in a low key way. So I wanted to pounce, but gently. I didn't want to put him on the defensive.

We started talking, and I asked if he thought I'd be able to move in Thursday, a day early, since that's when I had an offer of help. Before I knew it we were walking over to the new place, and we found the Vacating Tenant just about to drive away.

It's the first time I've met the VT, and he was a little cool, as if we were trying to pin him down. He even insisted that he had the right to stay until the 31st, and no one could argue with that. He had once told Fred he'd be mostly moved out by last weekend, and obviously he wasn't.

Now he's saying that I can start moving boxes over this weekend. Possibly Friday, maybe Saturday, definitely by Sunday. So I'm planning to make a big dent in the move, so that Thursday, when the crew comes to load the furniture, there's as little left to do as possible.

It's not definite that it'll work out that way, but at least it's a plan. And it's a plan that everyone wants to make work, it seems.

The VT also told me to take a look at the blinds and drapes and make him an offer. Apparently they were specially cut for the unique window configurations, and even though he has no use for them, he'd rather donate them to Goodwill and take a tax write-off than just leave them.

After the VT left, we were looking around inside, and I asked Fred and Amelia (his wife, who walked over, too) what they thought I should offer for the window coverings. Amelia said, "Fifty dollars for the whole lot." Fred said, "I'd see if he'll take a hundred for everything."

I have to have the windows covered, so I'm pretty much at the VT's mercy. I'll have to pay whatever he'll take, within reason anyway.

As the place stands now, the kitchen is one corner of the large living space that takes up about two-thirds of the downstairs area. It's too small, leaving no room for a stove or refrigerator.

Fred's plan is to enlarge it and add a partition. That wouldn't be just so that the kitchen would become a separate room, but also to add some wall space for overhead cabinets. I was cool to the idea of breaking up the room, until I realized that I would definitely need more cabinet space.

Unfortunately, the new refrigerator will be my old one, the noisy little machine that sits in my kitchen. I thought I would get by without moving the fridge, because Fred had said he thought one came with the house. Today he informed me that it belonged to the VT, so I'll be transporting the old piece-o'-crap along with all my other furniture.

I won't have to move the washer and dryer, though, because I got Fred to agree to provide a new one there in exchange for leaving mine here. There is a laundry room inside the new place, but the space available is for a stacking type washer-dryer unit, not the side-by-side I bought (used) just a few months ago.

Amelia noticed some trappings that I hadn't seen before. In the area behind the garage is a fine old oak tree, spreading branches in all directions at the odd organic angles characteristic of trees of a certain age.

About twelve or fifteen feet up in this tree are the beginnings (or what's left) of a tree house. I may be able to stretch a hammock between two of the branches. If not, I can surely hang a rope swing from one.

She was admiring the garden, naming flowers and plants. I'm sorry to say, the only name I remember is "rose," and I could probably have picked that particular item out of the greenery by myself.

By far the best news I heard today was totally unexpected. I asked when their new tenant was moving into my old place, and Fred said, "The first." I had to explain to him that I'd been told to move out on the first, and it might be awkward to have them show up and try to get in before I had my morning shower.

So that reinforced the need to move my stuff on the 31st. It's been hard from the beginning to get straight answers to simple questions. I still don't know for sure that it's all going to work out.

After an appropriate interval, I casually mentioned that I wouldn't have a lot of time to clean, if the new people were coming the same day I was leaving. "Don't even try to clean," Amelia told me. "Just pack up and go."

Do I have to tell you how good that sounded? I worked myself raw getting the old Home Office ready for inspection, just so I'd get my deposit back. Here I don't have a refund coming anyway, so landlord relations would have been my main incentive to clean.

Now, I know I can't just leave without at least cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing out the shower. What would people think of me? I shudder to think.

But to have them not be worried about the condition I leave the place in, that is definitely the best news. What a relief.

So things are falling into place. You knew they would, didn't you, even if I didn't?

Here's how I believe it will go: I'll start moving boxes into the garage and the loft Sunday. On Tuesday, I'll have David's help to move as much as possible. On Thursday, the crew will come and help me move all the furniture and anything that's left.

While this is going on, Fred and his partner Jerry will be working on the new place, getting the kitchen in order and rigging it up with a new washer-dryer.

Then next Friday, I'll get the phone and cable hooked up. I won't have nearly as much down time as I'd feared. If I feel up to it, I'll head up to the lake with David a week from Saturday, for three days of soggy, sloshy fun.

It feels good to have a plan.

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